The civil rights movement of the 1960's had a big impact on Dr. Jane Nichols.

As a teenager, she began devoting her life to making sure opportunities - especially in education - are available to everyone.

Fast forward to 2018 - watching young people graduate from college is now one of Jane Nichols’ great pleasures. But, 35 years ago when she moved to the Silver State, the number of those crossing the stage where far fewer than we see today. 

"(I) sort of jumped in with both feet with a passion for trying to create opportunities for everyone in the state," explains Nichols.

"She is a pioneer when it comes to education. She was the first (female) chancellor here in the state,” says Estella Gutierrez, VP of Student Services and Diversity at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC).

With a doctorate in higher education, and a master's degree in social work, Dr. Nichols knew increasing opportunities for students would require raising money and awareness, so she worked to make it happen.

"There's a list a mile long, starting with the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship, to here at TMCC and the things she's done for students here, she's just phenomenal,” smiles Sharon Wurm, Executive Director of Financial Aid and Student Success at TMCC and board member for the Nevada Women’s Fund.

"I was privileged, as chancellor, to be able to develop a financial aid system,” says Nichols. “So, all students can apply for and receive financial aid when they go to college and can afford to do that."

"She's opened the door for a lot of initiatives,” says Gutierrez. “For TMCC I have to say that we're very pleased with the first four year degrees for Truckee Meadows Community College under the leadership of Jane.”

Dr. Nichols won't boast about the various positions she's held at TMCC, UNR and the Nevada System of Higher Education, but this year, she is being honored for the incredible impact she's had.

"The Nevada Women's Fund mission is to inspire achievement in women in northern Nevada. Who better to be the hall of fame inductee this year than Jane Nichols who has inspired women for her whole, entire career," says Wurm.

Dr. Nichols is retired now, but still supports various scholarship programs and volunteers as a mentor for college students.